NCDC: No published studies on effectiveness of face shields against COVID-19

by Muizat Hameed
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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has warned that there are no published studies that could confirm the effectiveness of using face shield in preventing contraction of COVID-19 infection.

This was said in a press releases on the July 28, 2020, where it noted that an increasing number of people in Nigeria are using face shields.

The press release stated that “Face shields are generally used in health care settings by medical professionals to provide barrier protection to the facial area, including the eyes, nose and lips.”

It continued that “Even in healthcare settings, face shields are not meant to function as primary respiratory protection to prevent infection.”

The release explained that face shields are used in combination with surgical mask or N95 mask by health workers for maximum protection during invasive procedures.

“There are no published studies on the effectiveness of face shields against COVID-19 in non-healthcare settings,” it added.

The NCDC thereafter offered guidance to Nigerians on the appropriate use of face masks and face shields.

“Face masks are very important in helping to limit the spread of COVID-19, especially in situations where physical distancing may be difficult, such as on public transportation, markets and in areas where there is a significant amount of community transmission,” it said.

It stated that for effective protection, face shields are used in combination with an appropriate face mask in healthcare settings.

“Given the limited evidence on the effectiveness of face shields in protecting people from COVID-19 infection in community settings, and the absence of recommendations on their use by the WHO and other public health authorities, face shields alone should not be used in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 infection,” NCDC said.

“When used, it should be done in combination with an appropriate face mask,” it said.

NCDC said it was important to remember that currently, no single intervention even when properly used, provides complete protection from COVID-19 infection.

“Therefore, the use of face masks or face shields with face masks should be combined with other public health and social measures as announced by the Federal/State Ministries of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

“This includes maintaining a distance of two metres between you and the next person, frequent hand-washing with soap and running water or use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and avoiding public gatherings,” it concluded.

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